Christian Responses to Islamic Ideas and Practices
ZamZam Water in Mecca
Zamzam is the name of a fountain in the courtyard of the grand mosque in Mecca. The well’s water is said to have originated in Paradise and has healing properties. During the pilgrimage, every pilgrim must drink from its water. Sick people pray that the water of the well will heal them. Pilgrims also bring bottles of Zamzam water to their relatives and neighbours.
What makes this well so unique?
According to Islamic belief, it is this well that long ago saved Ishmael. He is considered to be the progenitor of the Arabs.
On one occasion, he and his mother, Hagar, were nearly dying of thirst. The oldest form of this story can already be found in the Taurat of the Prophet Musa, the holy book of the Jews (chapter 21, from verse 14), which Christians and Muslims also believe in: “Early the next morning Abraham took some food and a skin of water and gave them to Hagar. He set them on her shoulders and then sent her off with the boy. She went on her way and wandered in the Desert of Beersheba. When the water in the skin was gone, she put the boy under one of the bushes. Then she went off and sat down about a bowshot away, for she thought, “I cannot watch the boy die.” And as she sat there, she began to sob. God heard the boy crying,… Then God opened her eyes, and she saw a well of water. So she went and filled the skin with water and gave the boy a drink.”
A strange story! Why would Abraham send his son into the wilderness? And why does he give him water that was not enough to save his life?